DEC 8– We leave O’Hare for Frankfurt. D
DEC 9 - We then take land transportation to Cologne…it rarely drops below freezing here. We will have plenty of time to visit the Cologne Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows and mosaic floors; and end our visit wandering along the Christmas Market to the Amadeus Imperial boat. Take plenty of time to explore your festively decorated boat, followed by a welcome cocktail., Savor your first culinary delights as the chef puts you in the spirit of the season. BD
DEC 10 – This morning explore the romantic town of Koblenz during your walk, allowing the Christmas flair of the old town charm you. After lunch a highlight of the Rudesheim tour is the Music Cabinet Museum…or visit one of the oldest streets, Drosselgasse, to taste Rudesheimer coffee. Your trip continues through the magical Middle Rhine Valley, past the legendary Lorelei rock. Enjoy a Gluhwein Party on board. The enchanting landscape loses none of its charm in the winter months and this section of the Rhine is rightly considered one of the most beautiful!. Late in the afternoon, you will reach the wine town of Rüdesheim, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Upper Rhine Valley. Discover this picturesque little town during a relaxed stroll and enjoy the pre-Christmas atmosphere. BLD
DEC 11 - Christmas magic awaits you again today in Speyer. You can take a tour to the old imperial residence town of Heidelberg, where you can enjoy not only numerous tourist attractions, but can also admire and enjoy the regional handicrafts, as well as the gingerbread and glühwein available at the romantic Christmas market. After lunch, you have the opportunity to explore Speyer. Here, too, a beautiful Christmas market awaits you, which you should not miss. Spend a relaxed evening enjoying the advent atmosphere before you continue to France during dinner. BLD
DEC 12 - The south of France welcomes you in the morning with Christmas cheer. Visit the surrounding area and fall under the spell of the wintery Alsace and Obernai…or visit the market in Freiburg. Later discover the most beautiful aspects of Strasbourg. In the pre-Christmas season, the beautifully decorated shops set the city aglow with festive lights. You will also visit the Christmas market. As your trip nears its end, round it off with some hot punch and enjoy the romantic atmosphere, before the Captain’s Gala Dinner BLD
DEC 13 - Now it is time to say “Adieu.” After fortifying yourself at a generous breakfast, the crew will gladly assist you at disembarkation. B
Excursions & Excursion Packages:
Unlimited number of excursions.....…$235 (Purchase before departure)
Introductory excursion package……..…$160 (Koblenz, Rudesheim, Heidelberg & Strasbourg)
Sun, Oct 23 – This morning we meet in Madison and fly to Portland. This is a beautiful part of the United States. We’ll have a covid test before dinner at our Hilton Hotel. D
Mon, Oct 24 - Explore Portland, Oregon on this narrated journey through the “City of Roses.” Find some inspiration at the tranquil Lan Su Chinese Botanical Garden before continuing through downtown. At the Oregon History Mural, stand in awe at the eight-story hyper-realistic mural depicting some of the most influential moments in the state’s rich history. Then at the International Rose Test Gardens, see the collection of over 10,000 roses in all shapes, sizes, and colors. B, D
Premium Tour - Explore the unique beauty of Mount St. Helens, known for her powerful catastrophic explosion in 1980. Get a once-in-a-lifetime view of the mountain’s treasures, including the “Blast Zone,” where you can see first-hand how nature heals itself. Enjoy an included lunch at Coldwater Education Center, which overlooks the spectacular view of the mountain contrasted by Coldwater Lake. At Johnston Ridge Observatory, the closest stop to the Mount St. Helens crater, get an incredible shot you will want to keep forever. This excursion ends at the dock of the American Empress. Enjoy your evening on the boat.
Tue, Oct 25 –Your hop-on/off bus traces the journey of Lewis and Clark to Station Camp and Cape Disappointment where Lewis and Clark concluded their two-year exploration. Stop at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Fort Clatsop, where you can discover extensive exhibits and replicas outlining the journey. You may also wish to explore Astoria’s Riverwalk stores, restaurants, plus heritage and maritime museums. B, L, D Premium Tour – Step off the luxurious decks of the American Empress and into the natural wonders of Oregon—one of America’s most beautiful landscapes. This zip line adventure brings you slightly outside of your comfort zone and allows you to experience the wilderness from the best vantage point—soaring above the ground, within the trees, and over ponds.
Wed, Oct 26 – Watch small River towns and lush green fall landscapes slowly become lost in the horizon as sunlight plays upon the deck. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish in a moment of tranquility. Take in the beautiful scenery or enjoy some of the on-board activities. B, L, D
Thur, Oct 27 – In Stevenson today explore the hiking trails, hot springs and local wineries. Check out the Gorge Interpretive Center and Bonneville Dam. Stop downtown to visit small locally owned stores with treasures from the Pacific Northwest B, L, D
Premium Tour - As we travel the famous Old Scenic Highway, experience the astounding beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Feel the peaceful mist of Oregon’s tallest and most mighty waterfall, Multnomah Falls, as it crashes down on the rocky cliffs below. Watch in awe as this roaring 611-foot natural wonder demonstrates the power and beauty of nature in her rawest form. Capture a photo of Crown Point, one of the most photographed views of the region. Then explore the unique, octagonal Vista House, which offers a panoramic view of the breathtaking Columbia River more than 700 feet below. Premium Tour – This full day tour immerses you in the natural power and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Watch water rushing across rugged walls of rock at Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Dam. We travel down the “fruit loop” to Parkdale Grange where an all-American lunch is served you. Then discover the history of the Timberline Lodge with a park ranger followed by wine and beer sampling.
Fri, Oct 28 – The Dalles, at the end of the Oregon Trail, served as a jumping-off spot for pioneers, soldiers, gold miners, adventurers, gun slingers, floozies and scallywags. Oregon Trail pioneers were forced to build rafts to travel west. Native American trading took place here for thousands of years at the foot of a series of dangerous rapids that Hudson Bay fur traders named “The Dalles” B, L, D
Premium Tour - Enjoy the full tour of the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum with an added twist—a private ride in a Cessna aircraft over Mt. Hood! Your 30-minute private ride is guided by a fully qualified pilot and includes up-close views of Mt. Hood! Restrictions: Tour operated with a maximum of 3 per plane.
Premium Tour - An elaborate dream of the eccentric Samuel Hill, the Maryhill Museum is perched prominently atop the bluffs overlooking the meandering Columbia River. The extensive and eclectic collections of this incredible museum vary from highlights of local, indigenous people to international works of art. See European and American paintings, more than 80 works by Auguste Rodin, objects from the palaces of the Queen of Romania, and much more. Then explore Sam Hill's reconstructed Stonehenge before concluding the day at the family-owned Jacob Williams Winery. Enjoy tastings of local wines while surrounded by the stunning landscape of the Columbia Gorge.
Premium Tour – At the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum see a collection of over 350 planes, autos, motorcycles and military vehicles from 1910 – 70. All still operational. Ride through in one of autos. Receive an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the restoration shop.
Sat, Oct 29 – Richland was reached by Lewis & Clark in 1910 In 1943 the Army acquired 670 sq miles of adjacent land for the Hanford Engineer Works used to produce plutonium in WW-II and the Cold War. The historic B Reactor and other historic venues are part of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park. The REACH Museum – This 14,000 sq ft museum discusses the Manhattan Project; how engineers raced to develop nuclear material for weapons. Visit displays on how giant lava flows and ice age floors formed the Columbia River. Sacajawea State Park - At the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers marks the arrival of Lewis & Clark on Oct 16,1805. Here an interpretive center tells the story of the expedition through the young Native American. + Franklin County Historical Museum – Learn about how agriculture, the railroad and the joining of three rivers influenced the area plus the WW-I & II projects. B, L, D
Sun, Oct 30 – Nestled between the Columbia, Snake and Clearwater rivers is Clarkston, Lewiston and Hell’s Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge. Learn about the influence of the Nez Perce people over a four-state area. Explore the local history of this unique area of Northwestern United States. B, L, D
Premium Tour – Adventure into Hell’s Canyon on a Coast Guard approved luxury jet boat. View remarkable landscape as the boat captain discusses the area’s history, geology and native wildlife. See bighorn sheep, deer, eagles, and other wildlife. You will enjoy a stop at the Idaho Garden Creek Preserve
Mon, Oct 31 - Complete our journey with coach bus ride to Spokane airport…arrival back in Madison is scheduled for 9:05pm B